Soccer: Elk girls get 1st goal, but lose to Huskies 2-1

The Elk girls celebrated a penalty-kick goal by Abby McDonald, their first goal of the season, that tied the score 1-1. McDonald's beaming face is visible between Josie Brown (9) and Hana Boudlali (11). (Photo by Bruce Strand)

by Bruce Strand, Sports editor

The Elk River girls notched their first goal of the season but it was not enough as the Elks lost to the Andover Huskies 2-1 at home Thursday evening, dropping to 0-5.

Abby McDonald scored on a penalty kick in the 62nd minute, tying the score 1-1. Andover regained the lead a minute and a half later and held on for the win.

Brienna Dehkes (15) of the Elks marked an Andover player. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

“It was good to get on the board,” said McDonald, acknowledging that the team was frustrated by four straight shutouts. “We’ve got to get some more and get a win.”

McDonald was grabbed on the arm from  behind  on a breakaway down the side, and award the penalty kick, a 10-yard shot from the front of the net which is almost a sure thing. McDonald, who had shot high on a 1-on-1 breakaway in the first half, made sure of this one with a brisk grounder to goalie Amanda Koltes’ right.

A joyous celebration ensued. A minute later the Elks were in position to score again but couldn’t deliver a good shot.

Then all of a sudden Andover had a breakaway and Taylor Hedin fired in the go-ahead goal from short range, past Elk goalie Kayla Zehowski, with 16:22 left.

The first half was scoreless. Andover’s Taylor Nivala got the Huskies on the board in the 50th minute with a well-placed shot from the right side on a dead run, across the net and just inside the far post.

Zehowski had little chance to stop either of those shots, and she did make six tough saves.

The Elks had a chance to tie with about 10 minutes left when they had three good chances sandwiched around two corner kicks. On a pair of line-drive shots, Andover’s Koltes made one  leaping deflection and one diving stop, and she  smothered another soft shot on the ground.

As for the Elks offensive woes, coach Brian Stueter said, “We’ve got girls we can shoot. Sometimes all it takes is one or two goals (to break out of a slump) … We’ve been pressing, which always hurts whether it’s a hitter in baseball or a golfer or shooting in soccer.”

The Elks will play at St. Michael-Albertville on Saturday at 11 a.m.